India's ONGC to buy $1.24 billion in foreign E&P assets this fiscal year

India's state-owned ONGC plans to invest $1.24 billion to acquire oil equity abroad, in view of declining domestic oil output and in the absence of any major oil discoveries at home in recent years.

By an OGJ correspondent

MUMBAI, Nov. 15 -- India's state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to invest $1.24 billion during the ongoing fiscal year to acquire oil equity abroad, in view of declining domestic oil output and in the absence of any major oil discoveries at home in recent years.

"We estimate our investments for oil equity acquisitions, through our wholly owned subsidiary ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) to run to 60 billion rupees," said ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Subir Raha. "These will mainly be in Sudan, Iran, Libya, and the US."

OVL has floated a special-purpose vehicle, named Nile-Ganga Pte., for picking up the 25% equity stake belonging to Canada's Talisman Energy Inc. in the Greater Nile Oil Project in Sudan. The payment of $758 million for this stake will be made in January 2003.

OVL has also acquired a 10% stake in an exploration block in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, through its Houston-based subsidiary, Sakhalin India Ltd. The latter would buy the 10% interest of McAlester Fuel Co., McAlester, Okla., for 350 million rupees.

"In consortium with Indian Oil Corp. and Oil India Ltd., OVL will invest $30 million in the Farsi offshore oil and gas field in Iran," Raha said.

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